Bell Motorsports takes victory at Daytona

Bell Motorsports takes victory at Daytona

In a surprise late-race finish, the No. 54 Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran Daytona Prototype inherited the Rolex 24 Hours win, after longtime race leader Tony Stewart (Howard-Boss Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford) spun in the wet...

In a surprise late-race finish, the No. 54 Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran Daytona Prototype inherited the Rolex 24 Hours win, after longtime race leader Tony Stewart (Howard-Boss Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford) spun in the wet conditions.

#54 Bell Motorsports Chevrolet Doran: Forest Barber, Terry Borcheller, Andy Pilgrim, Christian Fittipaldi.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
The driving talent of Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Andy Pilgrim and Christian Fittipaldi took the checkered flag to win the Grand American season opener, the 42nd edition of Daytona 34 Hours.

Pilgrim inherited the overall lead before handing the reins over to Barber just after 1:00pm with only minutes remaining in the classic endurance race.

"This is a dream come true," expressed team owner and driver Barber. "It's astounding what can happen in 12 months. It's astounding what can happen in 24 hours."

Second and third on the overall podium went to a pair of GT-class Porsches: Orbit Racing grabbed the second position followed by the No. 74 Flying Lizard Motorsports team.

Second in the DP class was Doran-Lista Racing, followed by the Crawford, which finished the event in the pits in spite of a very successful early run and a substantial cushion over the Bell Motorsports car.

Stewart's spin on lap 519 at 12:53 pm, one lap ahead of the Doran-Pontiac rival, ended the team's hopes. The spin caused by a left rear tire failure following an effort by Stewart to keep the team alive after a right rear rocker mount failure.

Stewart commented in pit lane, "I could run fast enough to pull away from second even though the tires were not always on the ground, but the left rear put us out."

Orbit Racing's Johnny Mowlem, Robin Liddell, Mike Fitzgerald, and Joe and Jay Policastro drove a perfect race to clinch the GT class win. "To win the GT class against the quality of competition at this race", expressed team manager Roger Hawley. "To finish on the podium overall is something we have been striving for as long as we have been coming to this track."

Flying Lizard Motorsports' No. 74 Porsche had the pole and the early lead, until problems with a radiator put them back several positions. Johannes van Overbeek, Lonnie Pechnik, Seth Neiman, Mike Rockenfeller and Peter Cunningham drove an excellent race to bring the team back into contention and onto the overall podium.

Third in GT class went to the BE Racing Ferrari foursome.

Victory in the new SGS class belonged to the No. 91 Doncaster Racing Porsche after a race-long battle with the TP Racing Porsche.

Class winners Jean-Francois Dumoulin, Robert Julien, Greg Pootmans and Marc Lieb gave the Toronto-based team their first Rolex 24 win, "We have won the Grand-Am Cup championship two years in a row, but this is something special," exclaimed Julien.

"Not only does it show the world what a great team John Lacey has put together, but it showcases the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup as a true endurance racer," continued Julien. The No. 71 Doncaster Racing sister car finished in third.

Motorsport.com's Pat Jennings will have further details later.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Tony Stewart , Christian Fittipaldi , Andy Pilgrim , Robin Liddell , Terry Borcheller , Jean-Francois Dumoulin , Robert Julien , Johnny Mowlem , Forest Barber , Seth Neiman , Lonnie Pechnik , Eric Gilbert , Mike Rockenfeller , Greg Pootmans , Jay Policastro
Teams Flying Lizard Motorsports